Mixologist: Christene Rice of Club 33

  • Jodi Miller photos
    Christene Rice of Club 33
  • Bloody Mary, Christene Rice's signature drink
By Columbus Alive
From the Mixologist: Christene Rice of Club 33 edition

Years bartending: 12

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

Neighborhood: Pickerington

How does Ohio compare to Florida?

The people are totally different up here. I was raised a good old Southern girl, and I see more Southern manners up here. I enjoy it so much more here.

And I love the cold, so I couldn't stand the weather in Florida. I'm the opposite of everyone. I love the four seasons.

Buckeyes or Gators?

I am a Gator fan at heart. I root for the Buckeyes all year, but when it comes down to the Gators and the Buckeyes, I'm a Gator fan first. Sorry, I was born and raised Gators.

How did you get into bartending?

I fell into it as an accident. My best friend got me to sell Jell-O shots and the owner then said he would love for me to bartend. I'd never bartended before, but ironically my mother did for 46 years. He really needed a bartender, so I jumped in and I was self-taught. My personality got me through it at first.

What do you like about bartending?

I really enjoy the people I get to know, and we always try to expand what we call our family. I love to bring in new people and make them regulars. Generally our regulars sit at one end of the bar, so if I see a new face regularly I'll drag them down there.

What does it take to be a good bartender?

Well, I'm terrible at names, I'll be the first to admit it, but I always remember someone's drink. They'll walk in and I'll have their drink waiting. People will say, "God, you blow my mind." But just don't ask me your name.

What's the crowd like here at Club 33?

It's just a fun-loving, crazy bunch. There could be three of us or 20, and we'll do just the stupidest things to make each other laugh. I've been hoarse for the last month because I laugh so much. I kid you not - I can't get my voice back. It's not a complaint, though.

What are people drinking here?

Mostly beer and mix drinks. I have quite a lot of Jim Beam-and-diet drinkers. It's mostly fairly simple drinks. And I make a great Bloody Mary. Every time I make one it's like a chain reaction around the bar-everyone wants one.

Is there a Columbus bartender you'd like to meet in Mixologist? E-mail jtigges@columbusalive.com.